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Beat the January Blues and get 2022 off to a great start

a figure wearing a thick green coat and red woollen hat stands in front of a small lake in a snowy forest

We hope that your New Year has started out with all the fun and enthusiasm that you’d hoped for. But if it hasn’t, that’s OK too.

Sometimes, especially around a new year or a holiday, we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and we can set unrealistic goals.

It’s human nature to want to look to the future and hope that this will be your best year yet, that all our previous bad habits will magically break at the stroke of midnight! But then we wake up on January 1st and it’s cold and dark outside. And suddenly our good intentions of pulling on our running shoes and deleting those delivery apps all feel a lot harder than we’d hoped.

If you identify with any of that, you’re not alone. The ‘January Blues’ are a real thing! Everyone’s different but some common feelings associated with this time of year are low mood, sadness, lack of motivation, tiredness and low energy.

So, what can we do to combat these challenges?

There’s loads of good advice out there on how to make the most of this time of year and we’ve made a list of our top tips – why not pick one or two that you connect with and give them a go.

And if in doubt, shout! Not literally, of course, (unless you really want to!) – but if you’d like to talk to someone there’s a list of who you can reach out to at the bottom of this article.

a person writes with a pen on a sheet of paper showing diagrams and the word 'goals'

Tip 1: Throw out the ‘big resolutions’ and swap them for SMART goals

When we make big resolutions like ‘do better at uni,’ we find it hard to stick to them because we’ve not made them tangible. Instead, try the SMART rule: make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timed.

So instead of ‘write up my lecture notes more quickly,’ try ‘on Tuesday afternoons, I will write up my lecture notes’. There’s a handy Goal Setter where you can keep track of your progress in Togetherall, a free well-being platform for King’s students.

Tip 2: Make a new connection

We don’t mean you have to make a new BFF, but human connection is key to our personal wellbeing. There’s lots of ways you can connect with others. You can join a new student group. You can engage in online forums. You can volunteer. You can become a member of your academic association. Let 2022 be the year that you expand your circle and you make those new connections.

Tip 3: Get outside and try to get some sunlight

It can be really easy to want to stay indoors with the heating on, but the benefits of fresh air and sunlight can really enhance your mood. Regular exposure to natural light increases your serotonin levels – read more about the benefits of sunlight in this article. Why not take a walk around your local area and challenge yourself to notice something you’ve not seen before.

a person sleeps on brown bedding. only their head can be seen protruding from the covers

Tip 4: More sleep (less Netflix!)

Instead of clicking ‘yes’ when that ‘are you still watching?’ box appears, try to prioritise your sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep can make all the difference to how you function the next day. If you have trouble sleeping, there’s a Togetherall course you can take and some top tips in this Student Space article

Tip 5: Talk it out

If you’re looking for someone to talk to about the January Blues, or anything else that’s troubling you, please do reach out. Here at King’s we’ve got many support services that can help you, why not try contacting one of the following:

  • Your Student Wellbeing Advisors – a team dedicated to supporting all aspects of your wellbeing needs
  • KCLSU Positive Peers – book an appointment with a fellow student who is trained to listen and who can provide you with information on services you might find helpful
  • Pro-Counselling – a free telephone counselling service, available on evenings and weekends